There were three horses on the farm she was sent to. One was a carthorse, and I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember his name. Wink might know and, if she tells me, I’ll let you know. One was a regular horse. The third was an ex-polo pony called Monsieur de Talleyrand, who could turn on the proverbial sixpence. What he thought about farm work he kept to himself. Jane could work with all of them. The carthorse (I’m ashamed that I can’t remember his name: I want to say it’s Boxer, but of course that’s another story entirely) could pull a big cart of hay and my mother took pride in being able to steer him at speed through a gateway, only a few inches to spare either side.
She found it a tough life, for several reasons. One was, of course, the physical hard work. She was just under 5 foot 6 inches in height (appreciably taller than I have ever been) and slender, but took on as much as the men did. Not that there were many men about at that time, most of them had been called up.
I’ve got several stories to tell you about her time in the Land Army and she did a good job, I don’t want to hurry it. I’ve talked to women who were in the ATS and the – oh blimey, I don’t really do initials. Women’s army, navy and air force. Few of them worked as hard as my mother did, none of them as hard physically. I admire her – but then I admire people who put their back into a job.